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CRPS/RSD

CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) affects the sympathetic nervous system. As a disease of the autonomic nervous system, it causes various degrees of pain and discomfort that are often out of proportion with the severity of the original injury. The pain can occur in any part of the body, but in most cases, targets one or more the limbs.

 

Causes

Although it’s unknown why CRPS occurs, there are several possible theories. One of the most common is that pain sensors overreact to the stimuli related to an injury. It’s also possible that inflammation near the injured area may damage the small-fiber nerves resulting in an increase in pain. An overreaction of the patient’s immune system may also be a contributing factor.

 

Symptoms

CRPS/RSD is characterized by intense pain in arms, hands, legs, and feet that doesn’t go away or decrease in intensity. It will continue to become more severe over time and may actually present itself as a burning sensation. Patient’s may have difficulty moving the injured area. The joint may become stiff and inflamed as well.

 

Treatment Options

While physical therapy and drug treatments are common, doctors may also recommend sympathetic nerve blocks and spinal cord stimulation to counteract the pain. Depending on the severity of the condition, a surgical sympathectomy may be recommended.

The complex nature of CRPS may require continual care. Doctors may recommend various types of treatment to discover which one works best. Each patient experiences the disease differently and responds to treatment in their own way.


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